This weekend I got a chance to talk to writer, poet and educator Anthony Anaxagorou about his new short story collection ominously titled The Blink That Killed The Eye. We’ll hopefully get to broadcast it on Shamaj soon (date still being discussed with the station) but until then, have a listen to the SoundCloud recording. (And apologies for the very basic editing on my part.)
The Blink That Killed the Eye is, as the author puts it in the interview above, a morbid read but I found it left me with a sense of satisfaction and a smidge of hope. Through seven stories Anaxagorou builds up a picture of a community only loosely interacting with each other. We meet the security guards who man Building Six where the polished but tormented Rupal Shah turns up to work everyday. We delve into Shah’s private message to her late father and we get a glance at her husband’s life in prison before we learn about his fellow prisoners, their priorities and prejudices. We also meet Alex, whose journey from demeaned nephew to put upon boyfriend, we get to follow. He struggles for normalcy with his erratic girlfriend and we get a glimpse of her childhood and are gratifyingly given a theory as to how and why she and Alex end up in such a violent place.
The hopefulness I felt reading The Blink that Killed The Eye is in part down to the fact that this tapestry of tales comes from a man who has prioritised working with men and boys on their notions of masculinity and whose work conveys his efforts to steer the conversation of perceived manliness away from lad culture. As depicted in ‘Have You Ever Seen A Big Man Fall?’ ‘Belongings,’ and the title story of his collection, Anaxagorou opens up tragedy and hurt, he looks at pain as it forms itself and makes that the centre of exploration into the psyches of his characters. He lends his own poetic prose to his characters’ inner monologues and endows their friends and observers with the same fluidity of thought. The result is a string of people who, despite their disparity, all hide profound insights.
The Blinked That Killed The Eye available here: http://store.anthonyanaxagorou.com/